The news that John Chadima made unwanted sexual moves on a male student employee during the Rose Bowl trip to California last year created lots of buzz for viewers of the late local news on Tuesday night. After lots of chatter and speculation over the past weeks the facts were laid out for all to see. It was a rather sad and bizarre story.
The former senior associate athletic director resigned his position early this year, and placed the University of Wisconsin at the center of controversy and intrigue after the allegations were made known to university officials. Though there are questions that remain one thing seems to be settled. At least in the mind of John Chadima.
News reports of what led Chadima to make such a foolish sexual move, and then threaten to fire the student employee, seems to place alcohol at the center of the storm.
“It is certainly not reflective of the type of person I am, my lifestyle, my management style or my faith or beliefs,” he wrote.
“However I make no excuses and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life,” the statement continued. “I am taking steps to correct that problem in my life at this time.”
Once again the blame for bad behavior is placed on the shoulders of alcohol. That might be the appropriate place to point blame, or it might be a quick reflexive move to blunt harsher criticism of Chadima’s character.
When I first heard the response from Chadima about alcohol being to blame my mind flashed to the faces of Congressmen who get caught in hijinks, or celebrities who are caught with their pants down, and then also blamed alcohol. Yes, sometimes people have serious problems with alcohol, and it is the root cause for their bad behavior.
But sometimes alcohol is just a grand PR ploy to avert a more harsh assessment of a person’s character.
After watching the news my mind raced back to an article that I had read not so long ago about this very topic of drinking and making bad decisions. A recent study finds support that people still know they are making mistakes when intoxicated, but just don’t care as much.
While I find our culture too awash in alcohol on the one hand, I also do not like to see alcohol used as an easy excuse for those who really need a way to maneuver through public embarrassment.
If John Chadima has a serious drinking problem then I wish him a treatment plan that will allow for a life of sobriety. I really do. If, however, Chadima is using alcohol to steer his way around a dreadful PR mess then I have less charitable thoughts about the former senior associate athletic director.